Mike Douglas has known Hal Baline for over fifty years, and has the following recollections;
I first met Hal in Hawaii at a concert we did together. I missed working with Hal Blaine, but better still - and most important, we are still good friends.
Hal was with Tommy Sands and was part of Tommy's band "The Sharks"
This concert line up was ~ CONNIE FRANCIS~TOMMY SANDS~ROBIN LUKE and THE DIAMONDS.
The date was November 1958.This was a fill in date for "The Diamonds", as Hawaii was a gas stop on the way to our first trip to Australia.We became good friends and still are after these 50 some years.Hal became our drummer whenever we had to furnish our own band,or when he needed a break from the recording studios.Hal had a couple of lounge acts of his own prior to his concentration on studio work.and had a great deal of group experience that he shared with "The Diamonds".
Music was undergoing a tremendous change in the early 60'S, sounds were different - you had the British invasion, The Beatles phenomenon and on and on. Dave Somerville left "The Diamonds" in 1961 and Hal Blaine was given first consideration. The Doo Wop sound was not the number one play on the charts - we had to do some adjusting. We decided to gear the group toward the lounges in Las Vegas. Hal was a multi talented entertainer, a good singer, a good comedian and the finest hit record drummer in the session world. We asked Hal to join "The Diamonds" and he said he would give it a shot. We started rehearsal, but after a few short weeks Hal changed his mind and opted out. When i asked why, Hal said "I don't want to be dying my hair twenty years from now just to hold a gig". As history proves, this was the best move Hal ever made.
Hal was first call as a studio drummer for many years - starting in 1965. When Hal would travel with "The Diamonds"it was a 100% dedication to his drums. While"The Diamonds" were chasing the girls, Hal would be locked up in his room with his practice equipment honing his craft.
Within a few short years, Hal became the number one session drummer in L.A - he followed the footsteps of drumming legend Panama Francis, who became a respected role model and would often send work his way, when his own commitments were excessive to his schedule.
Hal Blaine exit stage left......... Jim Malone enter stage right. Drummer for The Diamonds around 1959 - 1961. On tour. Mike Douglas John Felten, Dave Somerville, Evan Fisher.
Panama FrancisPanama and Hal were both inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the same night.